Fuel temperature altered after Red Bull encountered issues

Max Verstappen left his garage late ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix after an issue with the fuel temperature.

The mandated temperature of the fuel ahead of sessions and races has been changed to avoid a repeat of the issues suffered by Red Bull and AlphaTauri.

Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly both let their respective garages with little time to spare before the pit lane was closed ahead of the start of the Spanish Grand Prix.

This is reportedly because, while the teams’ measurements of the air temperature was 34 degrees, it was officially declared at 35.

The new regulation in Formula 1 dictates that the fuel temperature must be a minimum of 10 Degrees Celsius below the air temperature measure two hours before the race and one hour before practice sessions.

The result of that was that the two teams needed to heat the fuel by an extra Degree Celsius, compounding the fact that the Red Bull mechanics were already trying to sort Verstappen’s misbehaving rear wing.

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Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto was left a little confused as to why the Dutchman, who won the Spanish Grand Prix, was not forced to start from the pit lane.

This is because the fuel itself must always be heated to the mandated temperature, not just the tank as and when the temperature is measured.

However, he has faith that the FIA did their diligence before finding nothing wrong with Red Bull’s procedure.

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“I don’t know exactly what happened at the time there, but I can imagine it had to do with the fuel temperatures,” he explained.

“I don’t think trying to heat up the fuel tank is sufficient [with the regulations] because the fuel should, at all times during the event, be within 10 degrees. I can only trust the FIA.

“I am pretty sure the FIA are comfortable, as they checked. We should ask the FIA. I would be curious.

“It should be at all times during the event, so not only when the car is going out but when the car is in the garage itself.

“It’s difficult to understand that they were maybe heating up the fuel through a fire-up because it would not explain… as I said, it should be [legal] at all times.”

Red Bull adviser Dr Helmut Marko recently confirmed that his team needed to increase the temperature of the fuel, hence the frantic action in the garage.

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“We had overlooked the fact the temperature had been changed. But we noticed it in time and ran the engine to warm up the fuel,” said the Austrian.

It would appear that the air temperature was rounded up to 35 Degrees in Spain, which caused the commotion in the pit lane.

Therefore, to avoid further confusion, Eduardo Freitas, race director at the Monaco Grand Prix, wrote in his notes that the measurements will be more lenient.

“The official air temperature message, which is sent one hour before each practice session and two hours before the race, will now be displayed to one decimal place,” said the Portuguese.